Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Happy Chinese New Year!

So many members of the Little House community have Chinese heritage, and living in the wider community of Vancouver we have much cause to celebrate the  Chinese New Year.  Vancouver has one of the most vibrant Chinese communities in North America and is greatly enriched by Chinese culture and history.

Celebrating cultural diversity is so much fun with the Little Learners. Kids love to gain new perspectives, learn about different festivals and traditions, and of course do crafts! Today we listened to some beautiful Chinese instrumental music while making gorgeous lace-up paper fortune cookies, inspired by this blog, and Chinese “Happy New Year” character rubbings. Truly, I have never before witnessed the level of enthusiasm that my students had for the peaceful Chinese music and accompanying slide show during any other craft period! They were mesmerized!


To make your own rubbing tool, just draw and cut out Chinese characters that translate to “Happy New Year,” glue them onto some sturdy paper, and voila!

If you would like to try making the fortune cookies at home, here are some step by step instructions:

1. Using a dinner plate, trace a large circle on plain or printed paper. Remember that red is an auspicious colour for Chinese New Year!

2. Fold in half and make a seam then fold into quarters–but only press the fold in the centre of the paper this time.

3. Mark a dot about 3 cm from the centre, and fold from this point to the edge of the centre fold. Do this four times.IMG_2233IMG_2232

4. Bend along the folds to make a fortune cookie shape and then pinch the “cookie” together. Use a hole punch to make 7-8 holes around the edge of the cookie.IMG_2234 IMG_2235

5. Tie a length of string (50 cm or 1.5 feet) to one end and get ready for lacing! Younger children might benefit from a few staples at the top to hold the cookie together as they lace.




Word Families

Long before we started learning about the three Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) there was a common phrase that learning centred around a different set of three “R”s: Reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic. Times were different then, and we can excuse the grammatical slip up and appreciate that extraordinary value is still placed upon these foundations of learning.

In Little Learners, we have the privilege of being one of the earliest ambassadors of the 3 “R”s to our young students. We foster an atmosphere of inclusiveness, confidence and fun, helping to make this first foray into academics a meaningful and enjoyable one!

There are many approaches that we take to build the literacy foundations for our learners. We practice printing and phonics each day, following routines that empower the children to take charge of their learning and contribute to the flow of the classroom. While pencil and paper is good, much of the best learning takes place with scissors and glue, bright paper and paints.

We’ve shared some our our sight word learning exercises in previous posts, so today we would love to share another of our LL-approved reading strategies: word families! There is so much that you can do with word families. They are great for go-fish games with homemade flash cards, for word matching and rhyming games, and of course for encouraging confidence with reading.

Please enjoy some of these crafts that our Little Learners made to show their success with word families! They are amazing!